Students for Sensible Drug Policy<br />a sensible history<br />
A Brief History<br />Fall 1996 – Members of the Student Drug Reform Movement (SDRM) begin to chat over the internet using a Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet) discussion page. This would mark the beginnings of SSDP Talk, SSDP's national discussion listserv. <br />Fall 1997 – Leaders’ Meeting. Shea Gunther starts the Rochester Cannabis Coaliton (RCC) at the Rochester Institute of Technology and applied to become an official student organization. RIT denied RCC's application, which ultimately lead to Shea's expulsion from school.<br />Winter 1998 – Conference Organized. Aaron Wilson assembles SDRM members at University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Approximately 50 people attended, the majority from the New England area. The core group of SSDP begins to emerge.<br />Nov. 1999 - First National Gathering in DC. The decision is made collectively to form SSDP into a national organization and elect a board of directors. The Board becomes comprised of one representative from each of the five schools that have chapters operating under the SSDP name (Hampshire College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, George Washington University, American University, and Rochester Institute of Technology). After the first Board is selected, the Board holds an informal meeting at a local burger joint and names Kris Lotlikar as the first National Director. <br />
A Brief History…<br />January 2000 - First National Action: at and around the College Convention 2000 in New Hampshire, SSDP students protest the Higher Education Act (HEA) and pepper Bush with questions (Londonberry High School, town hall meeting).<br />Spring 2000 – First Loan Replacement Program. Hampshire College institutes the first HEA loan replacement program. Hampshire College President Greg Prince is the first college president to come out against the HEA.<br />March 3, 2001 – Legislation to Repeal: a coalition of U.S. House Democrats introduces legislation that would repeal a moratorium on federal financial aid to college students with drug convictions, citing denial of aid for 8,162 students this school year.<br />March 15, 2001 – “Students VS. the Drug War.” This article appears in Rolling Stone as the feature story on HEA victim Marisa Garcia.<br />March 29, 2001 – Ad Campaign Begins. SSDP Anti-HEA advertisement appears in Rolling Stone.<br />
A Brief History…<br />April 2001 – Colleges Urge Change. Five Oregon colleges (Southern Oregon University, Portland Community College at Cascade, Portland Community College at Rock Creek, Lewis and Clark College, and Portland State University) pass resolutions urging changes to the HEA Drug Provision.<br />April 28-29, 2001 – First Regional Conference. Hosted by UW-Madison branch of SSDP, the conference focuses on the drug war and HEA reform. Called “Illuminating Reality: social, intellectual, economic, and faith based approaches to the war on drugs in the 21st Century,” it becomes the model for regional conferences on the East Coast and Mid-West in future years.<br />May 8, 2001 – Amherst Coffee Ban. This stunt pulled by Andrew Epstein makes national news (New York Times, Boston Globe). In it, Epstein persuades the college to discontinue coffee sales for a day and then proceeds to announce that coffee has been banned because of its negative health effects. Designed to make students think about America's drug policy, "black market" coffee was available at an elevated price along with caffeine rehabilitation centers.<br />May 18, 2001 – Letter to the DEA. Thirteen leading education associations representing admissions officers, community and state colleges, financial aid administrators and student groups send a strongly worded letter outlining flaws in the HEA Drug Provision to Asa Hutchinson, new head of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).<br />
A Brief History…(this is the last page, I promise)<br />February 2002 – Souder Confronted About HEA. Members of SSDP go to Fort Wayne, where Mark Souder speaks at a "Paying for College" workshop, which is sponsored by the Sallie Mae Fund at the University of Saint Francis. Members from the Washington, D.C., office and area chapters at Earlham College in Richmond and Ohio University attend the event to get long-awaited answers from the Republican congressman about the HEA legislation he authored.<br />April 9, 2002 – Yale Begins Reimbursement. Yale becomes the fourth college to reimburse students who have lost aid due to the HEA Drug Provision. The first three to institute the policy are Hampshire College, Swarthmore College, and Western Washington University. <br />2006 - Congress, responding to pressure from SSDP and other advocates, scales back the HEA Aid Elimination Penalty, taking away its "reachback effect" so that it would only affect students convicted for offenses the occur while they are enrolled in college and receiving aid. <br />
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